At Monday’s Montgomery County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner John Frey reported that Indiana West Advantage has returned $163,000 to the Montgomery County Community Foundation. The funds, which were donated to the economic development organization several years ago as seed money, had never been used.
IWA Executive Director Tom Utley said his board of directors decided to return the money since the organization is making plans to dissolve after Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton announced the city was no longer going to provide funding.
On Monday, commissioners followed the mayor’s decision by cutting $50,000 previously budgeted for IWA.
“We did not think it was right to go away with money people had donated so the board decided to return the funds,” Utley said. “We are in a low-cash mode as of now and will be announcing our plans to dissolve soon.”
The board voted to keep Utley and Deputy Director Wes Brown for five more months. After that the board plans to dissolve.
“IWA did the right thing by returning the money to the community foundation,” Fry said. “They have enough funds to continue through the rest of the year.”
Utley said there is a possibility that after IWA dissolves, more funds may be donated to the MCCF.
IWA first came under criticism by members of the county council. Councilman Mark Davidson voiced concern over the fact that IWA would not disclose financial statements.
When Barton announced his decision in January that the city would not fund IWA, he stated he was disappointed in the results that had been tallied by the organization.
Barton and county are now looking into the possibility of establishing an economic commission, composed of elected officials, to continue efforts revolving around economic development.